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Can I ensure dd doesn't live with her father if I die?

(18 Posts)
PinkHardHat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:27:00

Dd is 6, her father and I separated when she was 18 months and my now dh has been in her life everyday since she was two. They get on fantastically and he is an amazing father. He is selfless and patient and kind and dd loves him and (rightly or wrongly) calls him daddy.

My exH was abusive to the point where dd and I had to leave, have police involvement and live in a hostel. He sees dd one or two weekends per month, often leaving her with his mum. He knows nothing about her, has no involvement in school and won't have contact if she's ill/he has something else on etc.

Dh and I have an 18 month old together, he has two dc who my dd feels are like brothers to her and dhs parents have replaced the lack of my parents in her life tenfold. The thought of dd going to live with her father if I died makes me feel physically sick. How likely would it be to happen? Is there anything I could do to stop it?

gobbynorthernbird Wed 05-Feb-14 13:29:33

Do you think your ex would let DH adopt her? If he's not bothered and would get him out of financial responsibilty that might be an option.

I think your best bet is to talk to a family lawyer.

PinkHardHat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:38:04

Not a hope in hell. He is very concerned with his rights, even calling dd by her surname when she's there to emphasise that she's his hmm

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Wed 05-Feb-14 13:40:02

Couldn't you make a will and put it in there? Would that work? (I don't really know about the legalities of this)

Honeysweet Wed 05-Feb-14 13:40:32

Have you made a will? That sort of stuff is part of what is put in a will.

PinkHardHat Wed 05-Feb-14 13:51:06

I'm planning to put it in my will but am unsure if my request would be enough to make it happen?

phoolani Wed 05-Feb-14 13:54:44

You should appoint him as a guardian for dd in the event of your death and at least DH and father will share responsibility. I'm sure there is other things you could do to strengthen DH's position (e.g gather evidence of past abuse) so that if you did die a court would order dd lived with DH instead of father. But you should see a solicitor - and I wouldn't put it off.

anklebitersmum Wed 05-Feb-14 13:56:18

You could apply for your DH to have Parental Responsibility.

This would be in addition to you and your ex having it and wouldn't affect the ex's rights-it would just give DH PR -which is to your daughter's advantage anyway for Doctors/hospitals/school etc etc.

If your ex agrees you can just apply and both sign at court. If he says no then you'll need a few grand and a family lawyer.

Either way you need to make a will.

gelati3 Wed 05-Feb-14 13:58:27

Please take legal advice on this matter. Some Solicitors don't charge for your first meeting.

43percentburnt Wed 05-Feb-14 14:01:35

Wills are not my area of expertise however I do have some training. You can write a will and attach a letter clearly outlining why it would be unsuitable for your child to live with her father on your death. This would be read in court. It is not foolproof even if he does not have pr. Ensure your life cover is not available for her use before 18 or 25 as this may make her dad far more interested in having her.

43percentburnt Wed 05-Feb-14 14:03:49

You must speak to a solicitor asap and get accurate advice. Do you have evidence of violence?

43percentburnt Wed 05-Feb-14 14:08:26

Sorry using a mobile! Keep a diary of what she does when she is at his house, maybe just keep a diary generally. Write down what you and your partner do with her and snippets about things she does with siblings. Maybe it would be used if it went to court afer you had died. Evidencing her happiness with your dp etc.

PinkHardHat Wed 05-Feb-14 14:39:11

Thanks for your replies. I have evidence of everything but it was against me, not her, so not sure it'd be taken into account. He is absent in her life to the extent that no one around her - friends, extra-curricular activity teachers etc don't even know he exists. He doesn't have a clue where she goes, what she does etc and isn't interested but would hate the idea of dh having her so I need to make provisions

Dahlen Wed 05-Feb-14 14:58:53

If you apply for a Residency Order in both your joint names (because you are married) your DH will receive PR. If your X is abusive, I'd recommend you do that anyway, so he can't play silly buggers about child contact, holidays, etc.

That, in conjunction with your wishes for your DH to have guardianship, plus the fact that she can remain in her family home, maintaining her family relationships - specifically a relationship with her sibling - would all come together to make it more likely that a judge would decide that it is in her best interests to stay where she is but with your X continuing contact on the current basis.

PinkHardHat Wed 05-Feb-14 21:55:56

But if contact is fine how it is, surely the judge wouldn't agree that a residency order is necessary? I thought they were much less common now as they have been used as a form of control in the past and that shared residency was more common?

Dahlen Thu 06-Feb-14 13:08:33

It is, but if you want your DH granted PR and it is in your DD's best interests for that to be given, it's the most straightforward way of granting it in a case where your X won't agree to extend PR to your DH. If he would, then you wouldn't need it.

PR given to your DH doesn't remove any of your X's rights, it simply extends them to your DH. And in your case you can make a very compelling argument as to why it's in your DD's best interests for that to happen (quite irrespective of what happens in the event of your death).

Dahlen Thu 06-Feb-14 13:09:24

I'd go have a chat with a family law specialist if I were you. The first half hour or so is often free, but you'll get a lot more accurate and up-to-date advice than I can give you.

spindlyspindler Thu 06-Feb-14 14:08:22

Hi - you really should bite the bullet and see a solicitor to sort this stuff out - it should be easy for a good probate solicitor to sort but won't be straightforward for you to manage on your own.

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